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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Roger Wolfe Kahn !!

Roger Wolfe Kahn (October 19, 1907 – July 12, 1962) was an American jazz and popular musician, composer, and bandleader ("Roger Wolfe Kahn and His Orchestra").

Roger Wolff Kahn (Wolff was his middle name's original spelling) was born in Morristown, New Jersey into a wealthy German Jewish banking family. His father was Otto Hermann Kahn, a famous banker and patron of the arts. Otto and Roger Kahn were the first father and son to appear separately on the cover of Time magazine: Otto in November 1925 and Roger in September 1927, aged 19.

Kahn is said to have learned to play 18 musical instruments before starting to lead his own orchestra in 1923, aged only 16. In 1925, Kahn appeared in a short film made in Lee De Forest's Phonofilm sound-on-film process. Kahn hired famous jazz musicians of the day to play in his band, especially during recording sessions, for example Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Artie Shaw, Jack Teagarden, Red Nichols, and Gene Krupa.

Recordings were made for:

    * Victor 1925-1929,
    * Brunswick 1929-1930,
    * Columbia in 1932.

Kahn always had fun leading and conducting his orchestra. Reportedly, when the band was playing especially well he used to throw himself onto the floor and wave his legs in the air. However, in the mid-1930s, he lost interest in his orchestra and disbanded it. Instead, he preoccupied himself with aviation and eventually, in 1941, became a test pilot for the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, a well-known aircraft manufacturer.

In 1931, Kahn made headlines on the New York society pages when he married musical comedy actress Hannah Williams January 16, 1931. The wedding was at Oheka Castle, his family's estate on Long Island, and was kept secret from the public for two weeks, until the Broadway show Williams was appearing in, Sweet and Low, had had its final performances. The couple made headlines again when they divorced two years later and when, after only a few weeks, Williams married boxing champion Jack Dempsey. Two days after the divorce, on April 7, 1933, Roger Wolfe Kahn married Edith May Nelson, a Maine politician's daughter. That marriage lasted from 1933 till Kahn's death of a heart attack in New York City on July 12, 1962. By his second wife, he had two children, Peter W. Kahn and Virginia Kahn.

Compilations of Roger Wolfe Kahn's music are available on CD.

Kahn's popular titles include:

    * "Hot Hot Hottentot"
    * "One Night In The Jungle"
    * "Anything You Say"
    * "Crazy Rhythm"
    * "Imagination"
    * "She's a Great Great Girl"

Kahn's work on Broadway includes:

    * Here's Howe (1928) - musical - co-composer
    * Americana (1928) - revue - composer


Bandleader Roger Wolfe Kahn was the son and heir of wealthy banker Otto Kahn. He began to study music at an early age and is said to have mastered 18 different instruments. He became a bandleader at age 16 when his father bought him the Arthur Lange Orchestra in 1923.

Though still young, Kahn was a proficient bandleader, and his group was a popular attraction in the New York area. The orchestra was headquartered at the Hotel Biltmore and began recording for the Victor label in late 1925 as Roger Wolfe Kahn and His Hotel Biltmore Orchestra. From December 1925 until its demise in 1932, the group was simply known as Roger Wolfe Kahn and His Orchestra. It recording for Victor until 1929, Columbia in 1929 and 1930, and for the Brunswick label in 1932.

Due to Kahn's wealth he was able to hire some of the top musicians of his day for recording sessions and special events. Jack Teagarden, Gene Krupa, Red Nichols, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Artie Shaw, the Dorsey Brothers, and Babe Russin all made appearances with Kahn. Kahn also wrote several songs and played a variety of instruments with his group. He also wrote the scores of two musical comedies, Here's Howe and Americana, and a musical review, Vogues of 1924.

In 1931 Kahn made headlines on the New York society pages when he married musical comedy actress Hannah Williams. The wedding was performed by a justice of the peace at his family's estate and kept secret from the public for two weeks. The couple made headlines again when they divorced two years later.

In 1932 Kahn lost interest in his orchestra and disbanded it. Fascinated by aviation he earned a pilot's license, and in 1941 went to work for the Grumman Corporation as a test pilot. Kahn tested many of the fighter planes used in WWII by American pilots. He later returned to conducting and composing. Roger Wolfe Kahn passed away in 1962.

From: :

In 1923, a 17 year old teenager named Roger Wolfe Kahn bought the Arthur Lange Orchestra. He was able to do this because his father was Otto Kahn, a wealthy multi-millionaire banker, and he indulged his son's passion for music. The newspapers at the time got a big kick out of this story because Otto Kahn was a well known patron of the arts and chairman of the Metropolitan Opera's board of directors. They found it humorous that he would stoop to fund a jazz band. But Roger Wolfe Kahn was a serious musician who could play eighteen different musical instruments. After rehearsing his twelve piece band for a year in the music studio in the Kahn family mansion on 5th Avenue in New York the band made it's debut at the Bohemian Cabaret in New York City in 1924. Roger conducted the band as well was playing saxophone and banjo. Kahn also released records under the name of Roger Wolfe Kahn and his Biltmore Orchestra.

This is what I have.........the following comes from many different sources. I don't have a lot of him in my personal 78 collection, so a few years ago I started gathering things online and from usual, bitrates vary, condition varies as well. As with most of my postings on here, I post as an exercise in sharing the music I love....I consider them a jumping off point for folks to further explore....go find the LPs and CDs!! get into the music!! learn the sidemen, dig the solos....understand the culture,  the time that most of the music of this era was recorded in. Immerse yourself in the music....hear the influences on today's music from what you find on blogs like this one. Most of all...........just dig it.........don't view the past through rose colored glasses, history isn't a big textbook, or a seven night Ken Burns Documentary,  People "watched" the radio like we watch the was very important, then as now.  The bands on here vary a lot, just like people's tastes...then and now. The "sweet" bands, the "jazz" bands, the "crooners", "race" music..blues, R & B,  country,  jazz, pop......cerebral...dumbed down...schmaltzy...intense....upscale...downscale....appropriate stuff..."scandalous" stuff. Everything is there for every taste, just like back then.  Radio was so big....sooo important, because it was the exposure to popular culture for most, especially during the depression.  Recordings preserve that music for us, now. But, in past years, people were exposed through both radio, movies, recordings, and live music for dancing. Pretty cool when you think about it. I like that we can form our current tastes along those lines, too. Once you get into listening, the war (WWII) , and pre-war years....even back to the post-war (as in WWI), get very distinct in your ears. The past ceases to be one long loop recording of Glenn Miller/Benny Goodman/Andrews Sisters, and becomes soooo textured and stuff. I could go on.......I won't bore you. Most of you are already into this, if you're on this page. Besides, I'm starting to sound like the mom I am, when I'm listening to music with my curious 12 year old :0...............whatever, I think you get my drift.

SHUT UP the F*cking songs!!  fine, then..........ENJOY!

Among my souvenirs  11-23-1927 Victor 21084-A
Clap yo' hands 
11-4-1926 Victor 20327
Cooking Breakfast For The One I Love (From the Motion Picture "Be Yourself")
2-1930 Brunswick 4699
Crazy rhythm (From "Here's Howe!")
(take 2)Vocal refrain by Franklyn Baur 4-12-1928 Victor
Do what you do!
7-30-1929 Brunswick 4479
Imagination (From "Here's Howe!")
Vocal refrain by Franklyn Baur 4-12-1928 Victor 21368-A
You're a real sweetheart
6-26-1928 Victor 21510
The tap tap
7-14-1927 Victor 20827
Down and out blues
(as RWK and his Hotel Biltmore Orch.) 11-27-1925 Victor 19866-A
A Cup of Coffee, A Sandwich & You (from Charlot's Revue") 
12-15-1925 Victor 19935-A
An Old Guitar and an Old Refrain (a song from Spain)
Vocal refrain by Franklyn Baur  11-15-1927 Victor 21078-B
Fit as a fiddle     
11-9-1932 Columbia 2726-D
Give me the sunshine (From "Keep Shufflin'") 
3-14-1928 Victor 21425-B
Hot hot Hotentot 
(as RWK and his Hotel Biltmore Orch.) 3-10-1925 Victor 19616-B
It don't mean a thing 
11-9-1932 Columbia 2722-D
Jersey Walk (Introducing "The little white house") From the Musical Play "Honeymoon Lane" 9-24-1926 Victor 20231-B

Let a smile be your umbrella (on a rainy day)
2-8-1928 Victor 21233
Looking for a boy (from the Musical Comedy "Tip-Toes")  1
-13-1926 Victor 19939
(as "Deauville Dozen") 10-1925 Perfect 314519
Pretty little thing
4-1-1929 Victor 4374
Rhythm of the day
12-15-1925 (w/ Miff Mole) (test)
Say yes today
2-8-1928 Victor 21507-B
Sheltered by the stars, cradled by the moon
Roger Wolfe Kahn dir. Ruby Weinstein-Frank Zullo (t), Leo Vauchant-Andy Russo (tb), Artie Shaw-Elmer Feldkamp (cl,as), Larry Binyon and/or Max Farley (cl,ts,f), 2 or 3 (vln), Russ Carlson (p), Perry Botkin (g), Ward Lay (sb), Chauncey Morehouse (d), The Kahn-A-Sirs (v).
New York, August 5, 1932 Columbia 2697-D
When a woman loves a man
2-1930 Brunswick 4699
Where the wild wild flowers grow
5-12-1927 Victor 20717-A
Wouldn't you? 
11-24-1926 Victor 20379
All by my ownsome 
7-14-1927 Victor 20828-B
Anything you say 
9-7-1928 Victor 21675
A shine on your shoes (Introducing 'Louisiana Hayride') 
11-9-1932 Columbia 2722-D
I can't believe you're in love with me
3-2-1927 Victor 20573
One summer night
4-28-1927 Victor 20634
I'm sitting on top of the world (just rolling along-just rolling along)
11-13-1925 Victor 19845-A
Just the same
4-14-1927 Victor 20634-B
Baby (
fox trot melody) (from "Castles In The Air") 1-25-1926 Victor 19942-B
Vocal refrain by Franklyn Baur  5-12-1927 Victor 20717-B
Dance little lady
(From the Musical Comedy "This Year of Grace")  11-28-1928 Victor 21801-B
Sometimes I'm happy
From the Musical Comedy "Hit The Deck"-vocal refrain by Franklyn Baur Victor 20059-A

1 comment:

  1. Did you see the 1932 'soundie' out there on YouTube where, at the end of the film, Kahn 'conducts' the orchestra, down below, playing on a ship while piloting his airplane?